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Platinum Choral Workshop: Dodecahedral Polyphony

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St Mary's, BatterseaBattersea Church Road, London, Greater London, SW11 3NA, United Kingdom
On Saturday 29 February 2020 at 10:30

Owing to the success of last year’s Dodecahedral workshop, we continue to explore glorious music in twelve parts, set in various tri-choir combinations. We start with a composer who is a master of the polychoral technique — Hieronymus Praetorius. Published in Hamburg in the Cantiones Variae of 1613, his setting of the text Tota pulchra es contains a perfect fusion of homophony and polyphony, along with an edgy, rhythmic drive. Slightly earlier than Praetorius, fellow German Hans Leo Hassler’s setting of the Duo seraphim was published in the Cantiones Sacrae de Festis Praecipibus Totius Anni in 1591. Hassler engages no less than four treble parts in this motet and, in a similar vein to the Guerrero setting we studied last year, does not miss an opportunity to depict the two angels who sing as a duet for the first ten bars. Serving as a contrast, the final 12-part motet is by Franco Flemish composer Orlande de Lassus, and was published in his Magnum Opus Musicum in 1604. This setting of Psalm 3 displays Lassus’ wondrous ability to create tone colour and drama through various combinations of high and low voices, subverting the expectations of an antiphonal tri-choir texture.

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